Coaching ● Nov 30, 2016

FIFA Grassroots Workshop Concludes with Festival


FIFA Grassroots Workshop Concludes with Festival

The FIFA Grassroots Workshop hosted by the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) came to a conclusion on Sunday when the course participants successfully organised a Grassroots Festival with almost 200 children in attendance.

FIFA Instructor Sam Schweingruber led discussions and shared his experience with 31 participants – of whom 10 are female – from 23-26 November, before the participants then had a chance to put all their newfound knowledge to the test by conducting the FIFA Grassroots Festival on 27 November.

Edwin Tong, Vice President of the FAS Provisional Council, congratulated the participants and handed out their certificates.

He said: “Our focus on the grassroots signifies a few things we (FAS) are interested in. The first is to broaden the base, grow the talent, start right, and cultivate the interest in football from a young age. The second thing that is important for the grassroots movement is to build a community. The camaraderie between the young players is as important as the mentorship that the coaches give to the players. We can see from the past five days that the coaches attending this workshop get along very well; if this happens and they are in the right frame of mind then I believe it will show in what they impart to the kids.

“Overall, we want to build interest and develop players who don’t just play well but play with a heart – and it is very important to build a community around that,” commented Mr Tong.

Julie Teo, FAS General Manager of Grassroots and Women’s Football, praised both Schweingruber as well as the participants for a successful and productive five days, where the coaches responded well to the instructor’s methods and interesting content.

She also reiterated the importance of workshops and courses such as this to keep grassroots coaches up to date.

“We include as many partners and stakeholders as possible to have a common base as we develop grassroots and children’s football. It is a way for them to refresh and upgrade themselves with new ideas, new skills and new ways to coach children. The practical sessions in particular were very interesting as there were children involved, and the coaches would have to judge the situation and make the necessary adjustments on the spot – according to the number of children, the age group, the weather and such factors that play a big part in any training session,” said Ms Teo.

Mr Schweingruber was bullish about the prospects of Singapore football after witnessing first-hand the commitment of the Workshop’s participants.

“We had an interesting group of participants with different backgrounds – some of them work with professional teams so they have a good understanding of football, and we also have a few who already work at the grassroots level with the Cubs Programme. In grassroots football we are not looking so much at quality in coaching alone, but also quality in organising activities that the kids enjoy and that will get us players for the future. The important thing is organising things well so that parents and kids will enjoy themselves and will come back, and I think the participants did well in that aspect,” said Mr Schweingruber.

Workshop participant Badri Ghent, Home United FC’s Team Manager, reflected that it was a beneficial experience, especially as the Protectors are a very community-oriented club and aligns itself with the FAS’ long-term vision.

He said: “As a sports administrator it was very insightful for me. Given his experience and expertise in this domain, the lessons Sam taught us were definitely very valuable and most importantly very applicable to local football. At the end of the day we all have one mission: to develop the grassroots football in Singapore in alignment with the long-term plan of FAS.”

Mr Schweingruber also had the opportunity to have discussions with FAS Technical Director Michel Sablon on the sidelines of the Workshop, and was clearly impressed with the plans already in place.

“I believe his approach and strategy are really solid and I feel like that there is some real potential there, if there is somebody like him pushing grassroots and youth football. The ideas are good; you will need to build up the people so you need to find good grassroots and youth coaches with the quality in organising and in coaching. If you have that then it is a question of time; there is a lot of footballing potential here in Singapore; the question is how you tap into the strengths of the country and use it to develop further,” affirmed the Swiss-born instructor.